Over 10 years ago we farewelled some close friends as the long-running sitcom Friends ended with an emotional relinquishing of the keys and final sweeping glance over the famous New York City apartment.
Although these days Friends enormous contribution to pop culture and sitcoms in general is utterly indisputable, it turns out way back in 1994 the show didn't immediately win the support of the public!
After the first episode screened on September 22nd, 1994, The Washington Post ran a rather scathing review written by Pulitzer Prize winning TV critic, Tom Shales. Take a read of the review and let the cast of Friends do the reacting for you:
Friends comes across like a 30-minute commercial for Dockers or Ikea or light beer, except it's smuttier.
One character says he dreamed he had a telephone for a penis and when it rang, "it turns out it's my mother." And this is in the first five minutes...
Another ghastly creation from professional panderers Marta Kauffman and David Crane, the witless duo who do "Dream On" for HBO, Friends is more a scripted talk show than a sitcom.
You keep waiting for Sally Jessy or some other cluck to interrupt the jabbering. The show is so bad that Sally Jessy would actually come as a relief.
Woah Tom Shales, talk about harsh! But The Washington Post wasn't the only publication to give the show a bad review, with TIME magazine calling it a "phoney-to-the-core twentysomething sitcom" while the St. Louis Post-Dispatch noted:
All the characters lie on the couch a lot. While it's noted that they do have jobs, they seem to spend most of their time eating Oreos and watching TV...And they talk, but most of what they have to say isn't very funny.
While I'm unsure if any of the critics who penned these reviews ever came around to enjoy the sitcom in future seasons, I'm sure that if they were to read back on the scathing reviews they gave the shows first season, there would certainly be a hint of red-faced embarrassment.
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